Don Omar

The Last Don

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One of the first reggaeton albums to make waves internationally, Don Omar's debut, The Last Don, deserves notice for historical reasons alone. But it's also a remarkable album musically, spotlighting one of the style's emerging icons as well as two of its leading producers, Eliel and Luny Tunes. These producers, the latter a duo, handle the vast majority of The Last Don and give it a unified sound that carries over from one song to the next. A few guests pop up now and then, most of them then-emerging superstars themselves, including Glory, Daddy Yankee, and Hector "el Bambino," and while they add a little spice to The Last Don, the album is very much Omar's own, nonetheless. He's not simply a vocalist with "más flow," he's also quite thoughtful, emotional, and articulate, delving much deeper than the surface guns-and-girls motifs of much reggaeton. And too, he can piece together some great songs, in particular the opening run of "Dale Don Más Duro," "Intocable," and "Dile." The Last Don peaks early, granted, and it's not nearly as catchy or accessible as you might expect, given its popularity, but it holds together well as it progresses, getting quite narrative at times ("Aunque Te Fuiste" in particular). The album-closing bonus track, "Dale Don Dale," is a highlight for sure, one of Omar's signature moments. All of these aforementioned songs are among the best reggaeton songs of their time, which alone would make The Last Don a classic. But that the album holds together so well and follows a loose narrative as well as maintains a unified sound makes it all the more standout, truly one of the best reggaeton albums of the early to mid-2000s, up there with Barrio Fino and El Abayarde. The thing is, though, Omar was just getting started. His music here on The Last Don is a bit formative relative to what he'd do soon afterward with songs like "Pobre Diabla" and "Reggaeton Latino," where he began adding increasing amounts of melody to his songs without sacrificing any of their substance.

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